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Insanely Scary, Totally Harmless Whip Spider

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up your leg at night! I’m not afraid of spiders, never really have been. They have always just seemed super cool to me, but if I saw this long legged fella hanging out on a tree, I would leave it the heck alone! These guys are demonstrating typical male behavior, picking it up and daring each other to put it on each other’s faces. These are the type of guys that would put this darling cuddle bug in your sleeping bag at night!

So this is a whip spider also known as a tailless whip scorpion, or scientifically amblypygi (that’s a mouth full!). The name Amblypygi means blunt rump, which is referring to their hind end that does not have a tail. They are members of the arachnid family; they do have 8 legs, but use only 6 for walking. The front 2 “legs” are actually sensory feelers, which are used to probe the environment and capture prey. These legs can be twice the size of their entire body.

When seeing this delightfully large arachnid you probably experience feelings of fear, repulsion, or disgust. I mean it plays into to most people’s extreme fear of spiders. If you ever do encounter one of these you can rest at ease knowing that this creature is as harmless as they come. They do not produce poison or venom of any kind, and other than crawling into your nightmares, they are not capable of biting, stinging, pinching, casting an evil spell, or inuring a person in anyway. They are also not pests, and carry no diseases.

This just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. The whip spider is actually pretty fascinating when you put your fears aside and really admire it. And while I wouldn’t want one of these in my sleeping bag at night, I can certainly still respect this interesting creature, maybe from at least a 3 foot distance.

 

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Wendy Aburto

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